Hello, I am Melanie Crawford, and I am a rising senior at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY majoring in Environmental Economics. Growing up, my family has always gone on vacation to the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina where we go on various adventures. However, it was not until the spring of 10th grade when I was lucky enough to spend a semester with The Traveling School in South America, that I fell in love with the outdoors. We traveled around Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in a group of twenty girls with only a backpack per person. My experience with The Traveling School taught me that you can learn anywhere from anyone, and it sparked my interest in the environment while pushing me to always think critically about my surroundings. I came back to my regular high school in Atlanta energized by the outdoors and wanting to explore the area I grew up in.
Approaching college, I wanted to continue to study environmental issues while also pursuing other fields. The Environmental Economics major at Colgate appealed to me because it takes an interdisciplinary approach to environmental studies in addition to the variety of topics that a liberal arts education encompasses. At Colgate I have tried my hardest to take advantage of all the opportunities there is to offer. My main involvement on campus is being the coleader of Green Earth Gang which is a club that travels to nearby elementary school every Friday afternoon to teach second and third graders about sustainability and their surrounding environment through interactive games and crafts. I enjoy learning from the kids as they connect their experiences with the different topics we cover.
When applying to different internship opportunities, The Henry’s Fork Foundation stood out to me after having taken different environmental studies classes like ‘Environmental Ethics’, ‘Environmental Justice’, and ‘Hunting, Easting, and Vegetarianism.’ These classes taught me to analyze every aspect of an issue, especially environmental ones. Expanding my knowledge in the classroom as well as gaining experience in non-profits while interning for the New York League of Conservation Voters, I felt like the opportunity at HFF would be a perfect fit for me. Initially I planned to work remotely, but as the world slowly started to open once vaccinations became accessible, I eagerly decided to work on-site in Ashton.
Since being in Idaho, I have gotten to know Henry’s Fork Foundation through intern orientation, meeting with Brandon, and talking with Jon Hodge from the board. Every interaction I have had thus far has continued to welcome me to the HFF community. I started working with Matt Hively to survey river use by counting the number of people on the river each day via motion sensor, and I am excited to begin surveying floaters in person on Thursday. In my free time I have been exploring the area around Ashton and adjusting to small town living. I have climbed the St. Anthony sand dunes, driven the Mesa Falls Scenic byway, and continued to try to teach myself how to fly fish. I look forward to what the future holds these next two months!